© Stephen Ferry.
For a decade Stephen Ferry has documented the armed internal conflict in Colombia, a complex, violent, and frequently misunderstood struggle that receives little press abroad. The widespread murder, disappearances, and displacement– a result of power struggles among paramilitary, guerrilla, and government groups– has terrorized civilians for decades. But Ferry’s focus is on those who, at great personal risk, resist the violence and struggle for peace through nonviolent means. His subjects include trade unionists, human rights defenders, journalists, peasant leaders, and community members showing strength and courage in the face of enormous injustice.
Ferry will also be presenting and discussing the work at The Photographers Lecture Series at ICP tonight at 7pm.
Above image: Soldiers guard the perimeter as Colombian Army helicopters ferry in equipment and technicians to repair a length of the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline destroyed by guerrilla sabotage. The Caño-Limón oil field is shared between the Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol and the Occidental Petroleum Corporation based in the United States. In 2002, the US Congress approved a special package of 98 million dollars in military aid directed to the XVIII Brigade in Arauca to defend the pipeline. Arauquita, Arauca. March 4, 2002.
WARNING: there are graphic depictions of violence in this gallery.
© Stephen Ferry. Above: A girl passes the bodies of two men assassinated in Cúcuta, Colombia. Authorities at the scene said that the killings bore the trademarks of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). Cúcuta, Norte De Santander. March 9, 2005.
© Stephen Ferry. Above: After the murder of his father by paramilitaries, Juan David Díaz became a human rights activist. He and his family have received numerous death threats. Sincelejo, Sucre. June 6, 2009.
© Stephen Ferry. Above: FARC combatants watch national news on a small television set connected to a generator. During the review of troops at five am the next morning, I was surprised to hear the commander pop them questions about the previous night’s news: “What happened yesterday in Medellín, and what is the importance of the event?” At one point during my two days in the camp, I left an empty metal cup on a table made of rude planks in the dining area. An instant later, I heard a rank and file combatant call out peevishly, “Whose cup is this?” Nothing should be left out, as the guerrillas’ survival depends on gathering up the camp and heading into the jungle within moments of sensing a threat. Jungles of Caquetá, near San Vicente del Caguán. August 7, 2000.
© Stephen Ferry. Above: The headquarters of the Red Juvenile (Youth Network), an organization that professes feminism and pacificsm and works to persuade young people not to join the armed groups. The organization has received numerous death threats. Medellín, Antioquia. August 22, 2009.